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The award-winning Phase Change Matters blog tracks the latest news and research on phase change materials and thermal energy storage. E-mail tips and comments to Ben Welter, communications director at Entropy Solutions. Follow the blog on Twitter at @PureTemp. Subscribe to the weekly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.

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PCM briefing: Cold Chain Global forum agenda is set; deal reached on overhaul of TSCA

Ben Welter - Friday, May 20, 2016

The full agenda has been released for the 14th Cold Chain Global Forum to be held Sept. 26-30 in Boston. Sponsors and exhibitors include Pelican BioThermal, va-Q-tec AG, Cold Chain Technologies, American Aerogel, RGEES and Sonoco ThermoSafeFrank Butch, director of engineering at ThermoSafe, will lead a master class on temperature assurance packaging certification. Conference registration is open, with early bird rates available through June 3. [pdf]

• U.S. House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a bill overhauling the 40-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act. Under the compromise version, EPA regulations would pre-empt most new state regulations, although states could still enact measures such as monitoring and labeling of chemicals, the New York Times reports.

• In a piece on the importance of cocktail ice, Primer magazine offers a unique description of how water freezes and melts: "The two ideas that help us understand the changes in water jumping between a solid and liquid state are enthalpy and entropy. Which I like to oversimplify and think of as order and disorder, enthalpy being order and entropy being the little shit disturber that lets it all go to hell. Enthalpy wants to freeze your ice and entropy wants to melt it, neither one of them ever really completely win this battle but who reigns over the other at any given time is decided by temperature: If the temperature is at -5°C/23°F enthalpy has the upper hand, if it’s 20°C/60°F then it’s entropy’s ball game." 

RGEES launches Akuratemp specimen transporter in four temperature ranges

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

RGEES Akuratemp PCM packsRGEES introduced a new line of temperature-controlled specimen transporters this week at CleanMed 2016 in Dallas.

The Akuratemp line is available in frozen (below -20° C), chilled (2-8° C), room temperature (15°C to 25°C) and incubating (37° C) temperature ranges. The ranges cover applications in clinical trials, diagnostic specimens, direct-to-patient and direct-to-lab deliveries. The transporter consists of an insulated carton, two color-coded packs containing phase change material, shown here, an optional real-time data logger and an outer sleeve.

The company, based in Arden, N.C., says the "environmentally friendly" shippers will maintain temperatures for up to 72 hours, use non-petroleum phase-change technology and have reuseable components.

http://rgees.com/products_specimen-transporter.php

PCM briefing: Free webinar on industry disruption; how ice-making bacteria works

Ben Welter - Friday, May 13, 2016

Marija Jović, project manager and lead scientist at PreScouter Inc., will lead a webinar titled "How Phase Change Materials Are Disrupting Your Industry." The free event, set for 1-2 p.m. CDT on June 9, is aimed at leaders in a range of industries, from textiles and apparel to medicine and robotics. Illinois-based PreScouter provides corporate leaders with data and insights on which to base product development decisions.

Pharmaceutical Commerce's annual Cold Chain Sourcebook projects 52 percent growth in global cold chain market between 2014 and 2020.

Ben Singleton, business development manager at Pelican BioThermal, will be among the speakers at next week's Cold Chain & Product Handling: Temperature Controlled Logistics conference in Amsterdam. 

• Since the late 1980s, a company called Snowmax has supplied ski resorts with a bacteria-derived additive that makes snow production possible at higher temperatures. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, now say they've figured out how the ice-making bacteria works.  

PCM briefing: Croda to showcase automotive product line; Outlast technology on display in Leipzig

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Croda, the global specialty chemical company, will showcase its automotive product portfolio in June at Automechanika 2016 in Birmingham, U.K. Among the sustainable products on display: bio-based phase change material designed for in-cabin temperature control and cold storage evaporators.

Hydas wrist brace with Outlast PCMThe latest innovations featuring Outlast phase change technology were on display last week at the OT World trade show in Leipzig. Outlast's PCM-enhanced foam is used to cushion the inside of ankle orthoses made by the French company Thuasne. Compression bandages made by a German company, Bort, include Outlast PCM to improve thermal comfort. And Hydas Fabrik für Medizinalbedarf, another German company, uses Outlast fibers in bandages, supporting belts and wrist braces (shown here) for extended heat management. 

BASF, maker of Micronal phase change material and other sustainable building materials and products, is taking a leadership role in the World Green Building Council’s Europe Regional Network. As an official partner, BASF will play a key part in supporting growth of the sustainable building movement in Europe.

Ben VanderPlas, Sonoco ThermoSafe's global product manager, is featured in a video produced by Healthcare Packaging magazine. VanderPlas explains how ThermoSafe's LD7 Quarter PMC reflects a new approach to passive pallet shipper design for the distribution of bulk temperature-sensitive products.  

Roccor LLC of Longmont, Colo., has posted an opening for a thermal test engineer to help develop two-phase cooling devices for high-power military and commercial electronic systems.  

• Planning to attend the 2017 Temperature Controlled Logistics conference in London? Take a 10-minute industry survey and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a complimentary pass.

PCM briefing; China tightens vaccine-handling rules; Pelican BioThermal has new partners in Chile, Brazil

Ben Welter - Monday, May 09, 2016

China has strengthened cold chain regulations in the wake of a scandal involving the illegal sale of expired and improperly handled vaccines. County health officials are now required to get vaccines directly from manufacturers before sending them to hospitals, instead of going through wholesalers. Hospitals, clinics and government authorities must also keep better records of purchases and inventory, with regular monitoring of vaccine temperatures.

Pelican BioThermal, the temperature-controlled packaging specialist, recently announced partnerships with BioThermal Solutions of Chile and NatBio of Brazil.

Ice Energy is a founding member of the recently launched Community Storage Initiative, an industry group that includes utility trade associations, environmental groups, manufacturers and more than a dozen utilities. The Glendale, Calif., company makes the Ice Bear thermal energy storage system. "Community storage" refers to utility-sponsored programs that aggregate distributed energy storage resources such as water heaters, electric vehicles and interconnected storage batteries to deliver electricity to consumers more efficiently.

The global market for green chemistry, estimated at $11 billion in 2015, will explode to about $100 billion by 2020,  the American Sustainable Business Council and the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council report. "In a nutshell," writes Libby Bernick of Trucost, "the green chemistry market is poised for takeoff."

• The U.S. Green Building Council has launched "Ask Brendan," an offbeat yet informative video series featuring Senior Vice President of Knowledge Rachel Gutter and Chief of Engineering Brendan Owens. The pilot episode is free but requires site registration. Subsequent episodes will be available only to Education @USGBC subscribers.

Rentable produce boxes equipped with PCMs win $12,000 ag innovation prize

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Refrigerated produce trucks are common in developed countries. Not so in India, where about 40 percent of fresh fruit and vegetables spoils before reaching consumers. A team of MIT and Harvard University students is developing a system designed to reduce that waste and lower distribution costs. Their idea won the first MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize awarded last week in Cambridge, Mass.

At the heart of the system are rentable boxes packed with phase change material. The insulated, collapsible boxes will be sized to fit on traditional dry trucks, which are far cheaper to own or rent than refrigerated trucks. The boxes are kept cold in refrigerated warehouses until they are filled with produce. Each box is equipped with a device to track location, temperature, humidity and payment information in real time.

Naren Tallapragada“We’re thrilled that we won the inaugural MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize," said Naren Tallapragada, a member of the winning gomango team "It was an honor and a privilege to share the stage with other talented teams with a passion for food, agriculture and sustainability. We’d like to thank the contest team, judges, sponsors and mentors for all of their support — and, of course, for recognizing that phase change materials could help the developing world transport its perishable goods affordably.”

Tallapragada, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in systems biology at Harvard, said the team continues to refine its technology and strategy. Gomango plans to use the $12,000 award to develop commercial prototypes for a pilot project in India. 

A team of MIT students, Safi Organics, won the $8,000 second-place prize for its work on a low-cost organic fertilizer. A team of MIT and Harvard University students, Ricult, won a $5,000 third-place prize for a cellphone-based system that connects small farmers in developing countries to "buyers, farm input sellers, banks, logistics and critical farming information."

http://news.mit.edu/2016/india-supply-chain-food-agribusiness-innovation-prize-0429

Draft agenda released for Cold Chain Global Forum in Boston

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A draft agenda has been released for the 14th Cold Chain Global Forum to be held Sept. 26-30 in Boston. The conference, touted as "the world's largest event for temperature-controlled life science supply chains," will feature more than 120 speakers, including:

Frank Butch, director of engineering at Sonoco ThermoSafe, will lead a master class on temperature assurance packaging certification.

Fabian Eschenbach, head of thermal packaging at Va-Q-Tec Ltd., will lead a workshop on packaging design essentials.

Jerry King, senior scientist at Farrar Scientific, will lead a workshop on the viability of a -80º C reusable phase change material.

Kevin O’Donnell, vice president of cold chain standards, practices and compliance at BioLife Solutions, will lead a session on maximizing the value of sensor-based shipments.

Registration is open, with early bird rates available through June 3.

http://www.coldchainglobalforum.com/

Patent application: Modular cuboidal passive temperature controlled shipping container

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 17, 2016

Peli patent drawingU.S. patent application 20160075498 (Pelican BioThermal LLC, Plymouth, Minn.):

"A kit comprising a plurality of separate and distinct identically sized phase change material-containing panels shaped as a frustum of a right pyramid, a method of assembling a thermal insulating enclosure from such panels and the resultant assembled thermal insulting enclosure. ... Further insulation may be provided by inserting thermal insulated panels 30 between the outer shell and the outer surface of the PCM panel."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160075498.pdf

Patent application: Latent heat thermal energy storage system (LHTES) bubbling tank system

Ben Welter - Friday, March 04, 2016

LHTES patent application drawing

U.S. patent application 20160061534 (inventor Peter B. Choi, St. Davids, Pa.):

"For a latent thermal energy storage (LTES) system comprising phase change material (PCM) slurry, it is problematic to recover thermal energy by crystallizing out solid components from slurry mixtures. It is because the solidifying components form a solid layer of low thermal conductivity on the heat transfer surfaces making heat transfer inefficient. This invention allows an effective thermal energy recovery readily achievable by using gaseous or liquid bubbles of immiscible heat transfer fluid (HTF) in close contact with the phase change material (PCM) slurry mixtures [102]. The circulating immiscible HTF, free of solidifying components, is used for releasing thermal energy through cold heat transfer surfaces to the heat users. A process comprising a multi-chamber LTES system has been devised for applications in the concentrated solar power (CSP) plants using a PCM binary slurry of Li2CO3 and Na2CO3 as a heat storage medium and CO2 gas as an immiscible HTF."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160061534.pdf

PCM briefing: More details on the Ice Bear 20; new research on the microencapsulation market

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 01, 2016

• In an interview with CleanTechnica, Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins shares new details on the Ice Bear 20, a thermal energy storage system aimed at the residential market. The unit is designed to cool homes up to 3,500 square feet, "is as easy to install as the compressor unit of a traditional air conditioner" and will cost the same as a conventional air conditioning system.

• New from Zion Research: “Microencapsulation Market for Pharmaceuticals, Household Products, Agrochemicals, Food Additives and Other Applications: Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast, 2014 – 2020.” The report projects global demand for microencapsulation will reach $9.25 billion in 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 9.5 percent.

• New from Future Market Insights: "Temperature Controlled Packaging Solutions Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015-2025"

The Welsh government has award Dulas $80,000 to support development of the company's solar direct-drive vaccine refrigerators. Phase change material that freezes and thaws at 5º C helps keep vaccines at the proper temperature without power from the grid. 

Compression shirts and briefs infused with Outlast phase change technology helped reduce chafing and rashes in tests conducted with law enforcement professionals. The apparel, made by 91 Degrees F, displayed "superior sweat management, reduced chafing, and a uniform shirt that maintained its crisp appearance throughout the test."